Chronic Kidney disease is a serious illness that causes a person’s kidneys to fail and they stop functioning. Treating Chronic Kidney Disease is very difficult once it reaches end-stage. In end-stage, the condition of the person keeps deteriorating since he/she cannot keep up with waste and fluid clearance on their own due to which they may need a kidney transplant and Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis.

Dialysis is a process that filters out waste products and extra fluids from the body and takes up the function of kidneys and is done once the person’s kidney disease becomes very severe. Ther two types of dialysis are hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis. Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis is needed when a person loses about 80 to 90 percent of kidney functions and the Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is <15.

Dialysis helps by:

  • removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body.
  • keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate.
  • helping to control blood pressure.

Dialysis is a complicated and painless process, but it is not a ticket for a cure. A person needs to have dialysis treatments for their whole life unless they are able to get a kidney transplant. There are two types of dialysis which are done

Hemodialysis

In hemodialysis, a machine will work as an artificial kidney and will be connected to the patient’s body via tubes that will be attached to the blood vessels. It can be done at home by training otherwise the patient has to go to a hospital or dialysis center on a set schedule.

The machine removes all the waste from the blood. To get the blood, the doctor will make an entrance through surgery to the arm or leg. Sometimes the entrance is made by joining an artery to a vein under the skin to make a bigger blood vessel called a fistula. And if the blood vessels are not adequate for a fistula, the doctor may use a soft plastic tube to join an artery and a vein under the skin called graft.

The advantages of hemodialysis are that the patient gets four days a week for other activities and the procedure takes only a few hours of the day. But the person suffers problems such as low blood pressure, anemia, and depression – just to name a few during the treatment. Plus the diet given is also strict since the patient can only drink a certain amount of fluid and have to avoid a number of foods.

Peritoneal dialysis

In this treatment, a small plastic tube called a catheter is placed near the navel. The catheter is used to transfer a dialysis solution that is a special solution that contains water with salt and other additives in the body which soaks up waste and extra fluids inside the body. IT is done four to six times a day. After a few hours, the waste is drained out in a separate bag and this process is known as the exchange.

The advantage of peritoneal dialysis is that it can be done by the patient himself and it doesn’t need heavy equipment or hospital visits. And unlike hemodialysis, there are fewer restrictions when it comes to food and drink intake. The biggest disadvantage of this treatment is that it needs to be done frequently and there is a risk of infection to the lining of the belly (peritonitis). Plus it can be quite a discomfort because of the catheter’s presence.

Once a person goes through dialysis they need to be very careful about their diet and sanitization. Doctors have complete control over how much fluid, protein, and salt the patient intakes. Dialysis can cause depression and during that, it is important for the patient to speak to a counselor first. Lots of people go back to their normal life after getting used to dialysis.